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A MODERN MIRACLE

A summary of views, commentary and sometimes comedy.

By Sarah J. Schaffer

On the front of Thursday's Boston Globe, a local story was given so much play that one might have thought it described a modern-day miracle. In it, two Globe reporters described their experiences riding with passengers in the newly-opened "High Occupancy Vehicle" (that's HOV to you) lane on the Southeast Expressway. One reporter stayed with the "rabbit," the car in the fast lane, while another rode shotgun with the "turtle," the car on the regular highway. Contrary to the fable, needless to say, the rabbit won. Cars carrying three or more passengers can ride in the adjustable lane, which changes direction depending on the flow of commuters.

Typical comments en route were "Wow!" from the fast lane and "I don't need to go faster" from the slow lane. They might have added "Zowie!" and "Aw, shucks" as well, because for Boston drivers to get so excited over a commuter lane shows just how benighted the Boston road system is.

In more progressive states and fiefdoms such as Southern California, commuter lanes have been in place for years--and there, you only need two people in a car to ride the good life into the sunset. Admittedly, few people use them, but they are undeniably a staple of the California freeway system. "Oh, the diamond lanes," a properly blase, jaded Californian will say, giving the lanes their due.

But here--here, we have "Zounds!" and "Wowie-yippee-kazoo!" coming out the windows of cars with three passengers or more. Tone it down a little, Boston. Get with the times. Enjoy your multi-passenger commuter lanes and then move onto the real issues of the Boston roadway--like putting up street signs and learning how to drive.

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